I work with a lot of active people. From CrossFitters, Runners, and Martial artists, all the way through moms and dads just looking to stay healthy. At the end of every week, I sit down with their food journals to see what needs tweaking and what can be left to stand.
There are always a few surprises: chocolate bars, soda, generally anything you reached for when you were nine… But the most shocking of all is the common denominator and topic of this article.
The lack of food!
On average, 90% of the journals I read aren’t even close to being full enough to support the individual’s daily activity level.
Generally, I see 2 different types of eating habits:
The “typically healthy” diet
Breakfast: Coffee, smoothie, or shake. Maybe some eggs.
Lunch: Some sort of salad or wrap.
Dinner: A big plate of protein, veggies, and potatoes.
And the “too busy, no time” diet
Mid-morning Snack: Bagel, fruit or yogurt and another coffee.
Lunch: Chicken wrap, salad or nothing due to the mid-morning snack
Afternoon snack: chocolate bar or trail mix and another coffee.
Dinner: Protein, veggies, potatoes, pasta or bread.
Bedtime snack: Crackers, toast, popcorn or mixed nuts.
The “healthy” diet is full of good stuff, but only contains three meals. The “too busy” diet is made up of five to six servings, but either contains the wrong food or just simply isn’t enough for a person trying to increase energy, performance, strength, weight loss or weight gain.
As a result, both diets do about the same for you body: Not much.
When your body doesn’t get the amount of nutrients it needs to match your activity level, your metabolism can slow, causing fatigue, and creating the urge to binge on sugary foods. The lack of intake can also contribute to your body holding on to everything you’ve given it. This makes it much harder to reach your goals, both performance and weight-loss based.
So how do we fix it? By adding healthy calories to your diet.
For Breakfast, throw some protein powder into that smoothie, along with some chia and flax seeds. The seeds are a good fat, which will provide energy, and help food stay in your stomach longer.
If you’re just drinking coffee, try adding a smoothie. It takes about a minute to make and will set you off on the right foot. If you’re having one of those mornings, a snack size smoothie from Booster Juice will work. Forewarning, they’re full of sorbet, so don’t make it a habit.
For a morning snack, grab a pre-made yogurt with berries and nuts from the grocery store. They’re super easy to stock up on, require zero prep, and won’t fill you up for lunch.
At Lunch, make sure there’s protein in your wrap, and nuts on the side. When you buy five yogurts on Sunday, grab a tin of nuts to have handy for midday.
For an afternoon snack, try a boiled egg, some cheese and grapes.
And for dinner, chicken, fish, or turkey with a side of veggies and sweet potato is right on the money.
Adjusting your diet can be tricky business. So when in doubt, just remember that when it comes to good, healthy food, less actually is less. So do as your Mother used to tell you and eat more!